The December 19 inauguration of the Afghan parliament was an important step towards the democratization and stabilization of that country, a central front in the war on terrorism. Yet Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters remain determined to destabilize the Karzai government and drive out international peacekeeping forces. The United States continues to deploy nearly 18,000 troops in Afghanistan, as America’s NATO allies have just agreed to deploy an additional 6,000 troops and to extend the International Security and Assistance Force into the more dangerous southern part of the country–a commitment now being fiercely debated in European parliaments.
In mid-December 2005, a small group of U.S. terrorism and foreign policy analysts traveled to Afghanistan to assess the political and security situation, as well as the role of outside forces. At this Brookings briefing, the participants in that trip will share their perspectives on Afghanistan and on the war on terrorism more broadly. The briefing will be moderated by Philip Gordon, senior fellow and director, Center on the United States and Europe, and will feature panelists Gerard Baker, U.S. editor, The Times of London; Peter Bergen, CNN terrorism analyst and author,; Reuel Marc Gerecht, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Steve Simon, senior analyst, RAND Corporation; and Walter Slocombe, former undersecretary of defense for policy, U.S. Department of Defense.
A question and answer session will follow remarks.